New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has hit back at allegations that he and his security detail illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border – branding them ‘absolutely ridiculous.’
De Blasio, a fierce critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policies, went to the Texas border with about 20 other mayors from around the country on June 21, the day after President Donald Trump signed an order stopping family separations at the border.
De Blasio went to a holding facility for immigrant children but was denied entry. He then went to Mexico and crossed into the U.S. to get a view of the facility. The New York Police Department runs de Blasio’s security detail.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has since accused the mayor of crossing the border illegally. The mayor’s office flatly denied the allegation.
At a Wednesday news conference, de Blasio called the allegations ‘absolutely ridiculous’ and ‘another attempt to distract from an inhumane policy’ by Trump.
‘While we were there, we were told where the border line was, and we respected it,’ de Blasio said, according to People. ‘We came back the exact same way, both times showed passports, went through with the approval of the agents at the entry point. At no point did we disregard any instructions from federal authorities, period.’
De Blasio went to the Texas border with about 20 other mayors from around the country on June 21
The mayor went to a holding facility for immigrant children but was denied entry
De Blasio said Wednesday that border agents had approved the June 21 crossing and that U.S. Customs and Border Protection was now engaging in distraction and intimidation.
The mayor said border agents checked with a supervisor and allowed their cars to enter and exit Mexico via a regular checkpoint so they could get a different view of a Texas facility holding youths.
De Blasio said both times they showed their passports and at no point disregarded instructions from federal authorities
According to the letter by the agency, a uniformed Border Patrol agent noticed a group on the Rio Grande River flood plain south of the Tornillo, Texas, Port of Entry, taking photos of the holding facility.
He then went to Mexico and crossed into the U.S. to get a view of the facility
The agent asked if anyone from Border Patrol or public affairs was there to authorize their presence. A New York Police Department inspector said no, according to the letter, and when the agent asked the group how they arrived, they pointed to Mexico.
The agent told them they’d crossed the border illegally and asked them to remain there while he got a supervisor and took them to an official crossing for an inspection per federal law, according to the letter. But the group disregarded the order and drove back to Mexico, according to the letter.
De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips said the group did nothing illegal and had approval to be there.
An agent allegedly informed De Blasio and his cohort that they had crossed into the border illegally
De Blasio spokesman Eric Phillips said the group did nothing illegal and had approval to be there
‘The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,’ Phillips said in an email Tuesday night to the AP.
‘Any suggestion otherwise is a flat-out lie and an obvious attempt by someone to attack the Mayor because of his advocacy for families being ripped apart at the border by the Trump Administration.’
A spokesman for the Border Protection had no comment.
The letter was sent June 25 by Aaron Hull, the chief patrol agent for the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector to New York Police Department Commissioner James O’Neill.
More than 2,300 families were separated as a result of the administration’s zero-tolerance policy, which criminally prosecutes anyone caught crossing illegally. The mayors said Trump had failed to address a humanitarian crisis of his own making.
‘The mayor crossed the border with the direct approval and under the supervision of the border patrol supervisor at this port of entry,’ Phillips said in an email Tuesday night to the AP. De Blasio pictured with City of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez